Friday, December 30, 2011

Percy Jackson Party

This party was over a year ago for J's 9th birthday. The party was based on the book The Lightening Thief. The book is about a 12 year old boy who discovers he is half human half god and goes to a camp for demi-gods for training. So, this party was a day at Camp Half-blood.

I borrowed the columns from a friend and draped them with white sheer curtains to give them a more Greek look. The blue trident on the right was a devil's pitch from the halloween section of Joann's that I painted blue. The dangling thing on the right is a minotaur's horn that I made from styrofoam and painted to represent Percy's trophy from slaying the minotaur.

The first part of the party was dinner. We had a standard Camp Half-blood dinner consisting of beef brisket, grapes, apples, strawberries, cheese and rolls. To drink they had several beverages to choose from because at camp their cups fill with whatever drink they desire.

For a craft they painted their own shields. I bought pizza pans from the dollar tree and had some metallic paints in my stash. I didn't have enough pans for the birthday boy's brothers to make shields so I cut out some round foam core for them to participate. When they were dry I added a strap to the back so they could wear them as shields when they battled with their plastic swords.

This is the birthday boy the next morning, the party was a sleepover. The battling was quickly sentenced to the basement.

In the book Percy has a thing for blue foods, so for dessert the boys had blue cupcakes, blue cookies and blue taffy.

After a summer at Camp Half-blood the campers are given a bead for their necklaces. The bead for Percy's first summer was a blue trident. So, I made necklaces out of wooden beads I painted and strung on leather cord. They also took home their sword and shield.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Door County

As a reward for making goal at work a couple months in a row Dave and I were able to take a 5 day / 4 night vacation to Door County. It was very relaxing and wonderful all around. It was just the 2 of us. The kids had a great time themselves at Papa and Grandma Cheryl's house where they were spoiled rotten with a trip to the local zoo, going to the Smurfs movie, out to eat, the farmer's market, and multiple trips to the "awesome" library just down the street.

On the drive up Dave and I realized it had been 8 years since we had had a getaway alone for longer than 2 nights. Way too long! I had waited to the last minute to make reservations, that's how we roll, and was only able to find one possible location. We stayed in a 2 story cabin belonging to the motel we've stayed at in the past. It was little expensive but not terribly so, compared to other spaces, because it was not new. A little bit old fashioned, needing a coat of paint, but as the man on the phone said, it was clean. And it turned out the bed was a new queen instead of the double in the website photo. We didn't spend tons of time there anyway. We drove up the peninsula, walked through tons of shops, took walks (Dave mostly), watched cable tv (mostly me), ate lots of great food and on Monday we took the ferry to Washington Island and rented mopeds for the day. Neither of us had ridden them before, and they were a blast. We drove from one tourist attraction to the other and then drove the perimeter of the island.

It was a great way to end the trip. I just hope it's not another 8 years before we get away again!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Created to Care" ladies retreat

I am so very excited for the weekend of February 4-6! I signed up today for the "Created to Care" retreat in Atlanta! It is for woman who have a heart for adoption. There will be women who have adopted, are in the process of adopting or just like the idea. It sounds wonderful to spend time with women who feel as strongly as I do about adoption and following God's plan for their lives. I'm sure I will meet so many amazing women!

I found out about the retreat on Andrea's blog. She is one of the women putting the whole thing together. When I read about it I immediately wanted to go. But, it's in Georgia, getting there would involve flying or driving for 14 hours, expensive or time consuming! Plus, there's the hotel cost. Being in the middle of this adoption and planning fundraisers, I didn't know if I should spend the money. It feels so important to my soul to go, so I mentioned it to Dave. Right away, he said it would be perfect for me. So, we decided to just do it. I registered today and won't have to pay airfare and hotel costs until later. I plan to spread it out. It's almost 4 months away, but I can't wait!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Harry Potter Birthday Party

Last year about this time I was planning a birthday party for our two youngest boys. They were turning 6 and 4. They both loved all things Harry Potter and asked for a HP themed party. It sounded fun to me so we went for it.

Last fall was even crazier than normal for us. Besides 4 birthdays in less than 6 weeks and halloween we were also in the process of moving and getting the new house ready to move into. Crazy busy people. Not my best hour, but it was my babies birthdays and I was determined to make it special. In the end I went overboard like always but it was fun work in the midst of a bunch of not fun work. I did a lot of research on the internet and found tons of great ideas, most of these ideas are not mine. A bunch of the links I saved no longer work, but here's two that do.
sewhooked had a couple posts worth of ideas
more ideas

We ran the party like the first day at Hogwarts for new students. Our new house was empty as we worked on it and there was plenty of space for the party, so we held it there. We met the party guests in the front yard. Of course there wasn't any snow yet in the beginning of november, but I don't have any photos from that day outside, imagine fall leaves on the ground. My oldest son dressed as harry potter and led them into the house (carrying a lantern) through the basement door and up the stairs as our entrance to Diagon Alley.

The first stop was Madam Milken's robes for all occasions, where each student was fitted for a robe if they weren't already wearing one and made their own house crest for attaching to the robe. The crests were made out of felt and pre cut by my step mom. The kids just chose one and glued it together. Next we proceeded to Ollivanders wand shop for their wands. I made the wands from dowels and added some wooded beads and drawings to some for added detail. My dad had given me an heirloom desk just before the move and we used that as a prop for Ollivander portrayed by Daddy. He went to great theatrics to find the proper wizard for each wand.

I'm not sure on the order, but I think we next went into the kitchen which was set up as Honeydukes sweet shop, of course honeydukes is not in diagon alley, it's in hogsmeade, but for the pretend party we pretended it was in diagon alley :)  In Honeydukes each guest made their own goodie bag with goodies I had prepackaged with labels I made on the computer and printed onto striped scrapbook paper. There were chocolate frogs (home made from a candy mold), lemon drops, spindels spiders (gummies), jelly slugs and worms, acid pops (rewrapped suckers), drubels best blowing gum (covered bubble gum), and atomic fire balls. We put the kids name on the back of the honeydukes tag that was on the baggie closure. I don't have any photos of the set up, but I had glass containers i'd gotten from the good will that i filled with candies. I described each candy to the kids and then my helpers passed around the container and each guest took one and put it in their baggie.



After honeydukes we began the classes. We had care of magical creatures class. Daddy had spray painted some large plastic easter eggs grey. We squished up some plastic lizards and closed them inside the eggs, place them in a $1 store cauldron and set them by the fireplace to keep warm. I told the kids they were dragon eggs and that we had gotten special permission from the ministry of magic to raise these baby dragons. 

There was defense against the dark arts class. My dad, Papa, dressed all in black with a black fabric over his head and i told them he was a Boggart. He came into the room and they were to use the spell "Ridikulus" and think of something funny weaken the boggart. They did very well and sent him running several times. Papa made some crazy noises and was very funny.


We also had a potions class where they made slime. The kids each got a bowl and mixed their own batch with supervision. Our kitchen remodel wasn't finished yet as you can see, but it worked for our purposes. There was supposed to be more decor here, but as with a lot of things, I ran out of time. That's me dressed as the evil professor Umbridge.


And of course no Hogwarts celebration would be complete without a feast in the Great Hall. While we were working on classes my mom set up this table with all the food I had prepared. We had cauldron cakes, pumpkin pasties, treacle fudge, licorice wands, candy covered marshmallows, butter beer, pumpkin juice and Hagrid even made cakes for the boys. Professor McGonnegal (my mom) was even on hand to help out. I found the recipes for the drinks online, but now that link is gone and I don't remember how I did it. 

and one more picture of the aftermath and the ceiling. We used blue tablecloths taped to the ceiling and covered with stars to simulate a night sky like the magical ceiling of the great hall.

It was great fun, and I'm so glad I took the time to do it. Now I've got to plan a Percy Jackson party, a dress up halloween bday party and a avatar the last airbender party (or maybe toy story). Look out internet, I've got some ideas to borrow!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Crazy Adoption

My Crazy Adoption is a blog I read on a regular basis. Several weeks ago the writer, Kari, asked for readers to write guest posts for her because she was going on a mission trip to Ghana and Ethiopia. She was going to be gone for 2-3 weeks and wanted others to fill the days for her. Before I could change my mind I emailed her. She gave me the details and I sent her my essay just before the due date, I'm a procrastinator like that. Today was the my day to share. I emailed the link to friends and family and even shared it on facebook. There were many warm and fuzzy comments from friends and family. I am so glad I did it. If you go here you'll find it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Sandwich

My first thought when I saw the man standing on the corner with the "homeless, every little bit helps" sign was "yeah, right. there's no way you're homeless, you're young and healthy looking." Then as I sat at the stoplight trying to look straight out the windshield and not at the man standing outside my car I realized it didn't matter. He looked sad and hopeless and whether or not he really needed help it was my place as a christian to help him if I was able. I looked around the front of the van. It has been my policy in the past to give food to people who ask for money on street corners, but never money. I didn't have any food. I had forgotten to pack N's lunch and had no snacks either. So, I figured I was in the clear. I didn't have to help him, because I didn't have any thing to give him. As I drove away to go get food for N's lunch, for him to eat on the ride from one day camp to another (long story) an idea popped into my head. Get him a sandwich too, and bring it back to him. I wasn't sure I'd have time for that and not be late for N, but I decided to play it by ear. If I forgot about it, or didn't have time I'd let myself off the hook. But, guess what? The lights were in my favor and no one else was in line at the drive through. So, I ordered the extra sandwich and headed back. I sat at the light waiting to turn onto the street he stood on and took a closer look at him while I waited for another green light. He was wearing tennis shoes, khaki shorts, a white tshirt, and a hat, like a newspaper boy would have worn. He had a water bottle and a stuffed red backpack at his feet. I began to judge him again. I think I may have been had. This guy doesn't look homeless to me. But, what do I know about homeslessness? I turned the corner and saw his face again, eyes downcast and shoulders sloped. I turned into the parking lot and turned that car around so I would be on his side of the road again. When I got back to the intersection the light was red and I pulled up next to him and rolled the window down.
"Are you hungry?" I asked.
His eyebrows raised and he nodded his head. "yeah."
I reached my hand towards him and handed him the sandwich. "Here you go."
"Thank you, I really appreciate it." He said looking in my eyes as he reached for the sandwich. His fingers touched mine as he took the package from me.
I mumbled something like "your welcome" as I pulled away and rolled up the window. I saw him fold up his sign, pick up his bag and water bottle and head away from the traffic to eat.
While I drove to pick up N, perfectly on time, I might add, I felt so spiritually full. I thought I was going to help this man, but he helped me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Great America

Thursday morning 6:30, the alarm goes off. Dave and I contemplate our plans for the day while listening to the rain outside. The kids are beyond excited about a trip to Great America and we hate to disappoint them, but it doesn't look like a good idea. A couple of them are awake and so we ask them their opinions. How about we wait a day? We discuss pros and cons. While it is not raining in Gurnee yet, there is a 60% it will and a 40% chance for Friday. By the time we are done talking and it is time for a vote all the kids are awake and they unanimously vote to go for it. I am less than enthused. But, it is their trip, and they are okay with being wet and possibly not getting as much time there, they just don't want to wait anymore after having to wait for 8 months for this promised trip. So, we get ready and head out. Before we leave the driveway Dave hops out to grab some sunglasses and asks if I want some. I look at the grey sky and shake my head. I'm not going to need them, grumble grumble. On the way it pours for awhile and then we seem to get ahead of it. I obsessively check my phone for updates. We stop for a big breakfast in Wauconda and run into Dave's aunt and cousin. Weird. A happy coincidence and they sit with us and chat while we order and eat. While we are there it pours rain. Apparently the rain has caught up with us. Blech. By the time we leave it has stopped and the sky is brightening. We cross our fingers and get back in the van for the last 25 minutes of the ride. I start organizing my stuff, pulling money out of my purse and into my pockets and find a pair of sunglasses. "I better put these on, I'm gonna need them later". Dave wants to know where my optimism comes from. I have no idea. We get close enough to see the coasters and get a couple more drips on the windshield. Please, no more rain. Please. I don't want to be a cranky wet momma. We park in the cheap parking and walk the distance to the park gates. The kids are more bouncing than walking. My socks are wet before we get through the gate from all the puddles. But, do you know what? It didn't rain one more drop the rest of the day. We had a cloudy sky for the first hour or two and then the sun came out and I did need those sunglasses after all. There was time for all the rides and junk food and we all had a blast. We just won't talk about the tornado warning that occurred as we were waiting for the light parade to start which caused them to close the park early and kick us out and how it rained so hard on the way home that we were going 20 on the highway.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not Enough Time

This is a project I made after my Walk to Emmaus in August of 2008. I'm pretty sure I never posted it. It seems appropriate for this post because keeping priorities in line was a big part of what I learned that weekend.

I don't suppose there's any way to slow time down, is there? I need a couple more hours in each day. I can't ever seem to get caught up. I'm talking about everyday things caught up. If the house is in order, the bills need paid. If my desk is organized with bills paid, and no paperwork to fill out then I've forgotten to take on of the kids somewhere. It seems impossible to get everything right all the time. Something has to suffer. And I'm not really complaining, my problems are all blessings. we have a house to clean, money to pay our bills and children to shuttle. When there are lots of people who don't have some or all of those. It's just that the perfectionist in me wants to get it all right. So, I just pray that I'm getting the right stuff done when it needs to be done.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Creatively Yours Layouts

Right now I am very impressed with myself for figuring out how to add the sketch to my layout easily. :) This sketch is the current sketch over at Creatively Yours. The following layout and card are what I made using it.

I took this photo of J last summer. I was practicing in manual mode with my camera and I was pretty happy with the result. The image is SOTC, so I'm sure if I had photoshop I could adjust it and like it even more. It's kinda funny though, because J is almost never that serious. The blue ruffle here and on the following card is crepe paper streamer, and the brown ruffle is cup cake wrappers with a basket weave pattern. I'm really liking the Sassafrass Lass papers lately.

The card I whipped up for a 1st birthday party we attended. I rarely use stamps even though I have a binder full. The papers are Bazzill cardstock and scraps from my scrap folder.

There is a design team call going on over at Creatively Yours, go check it out!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


This layout is based on a Creatively Yours sketch by Monica Martinson. The papers are designed by Gudrun and were given to me for a layout when I was a member of the Scrapping Across the Universe team. She gave us so many papers that I still have leftovers. And they are great patterns. For this sktech I simplified it quite a bit, the doily i used was white until I sprayed it with glimmer mist. The base of the butterfly is Grungeboard. There is a whole lot more to say to E about this layout. She mentioned the other day that when our adoption is final I won't be able to call her my best girl anymore. She's right, but she'll always be my first, the one who taught me how to be a mom and love unconditionally.

Monday, January 18, 2010

a little scrappin'

I've been taking a little time to scrapbook lately between running kids around and settling in the new house. I wonder how long it will be the "new house"?

This is the layout I did for my first assignment this month for Creatively Yours. I rotated the sketch and changed things just a bit. That's the great part about sketches, they're a starting off point, a way to jumpstart your creativity. Head on over to Creatively Yours to check out the sketch and see the other designers layouts.

Monday, January 4, 2010

. . . and a happy new year!

I set a pile of christmas cards aside planning to write a lovely christmas letter about our year. The pile were people we don't see and therefore probably didn't know how crazy our year had been. Unfortunately the pile was put aside and forgotten. After all I did mail a pile of cards and therefore crossed it off my mental to do list. I had already put stamps on them so there was no way i was going to NOT mail them and waste the stamp, not to mention the cost of the custom made cards with my kiddos pictures on them. So, I took the advice of a facebook friend and added "... and a happy new year" to them and tossed them in the mail without the letter. At least I sent them, right?

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! There are so many things to be thankful for, I am blessed beyond measure. So very grateful that the home sale and move are complete and we are getting settled in our new home. I am very much looking forward to this Christmas season and all the joy it brings. We are traveling to my Aunt's home today for our big meal with about 20 family members. She has said this is her last year hosting, maybe we will take over hosting next year, our house is big enough to hold everyone now!

I'll leave with a photo of my craft room. It's an in process photo, I'll have a completed one after I've set it up. It's a good photo for today, after all, I am very thankful to have a room of my own again!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hello Blogosphere!!

Is blogospere a word? I guess not, but I like it. It has been so long since i've posted an entry that I wasn't sure I could remember my password. Good thing I always use the same one! But, if a bad guy is reading this pretend I didn't just say that. What I meant was I have totally different passwords for all of my important internet memberships. And I do really have a special password for my internet banking that's totally random, and that's the only sensitive one really. So, I'm not worried about it. If someone's gonna hack my blog, have at it, it could be interesting!

This year has definitely been a year of changes. We have been making big decisions that led to big hugely time consuming activities. We are at the very beginning of our adoption journey to find our Caroline. That takes lots of money so we decided to sell our busting at the seams home for a larger model. We found a house we love for a great price that left us with some equity money to get started on the adoption. Only problem was we didn't sell our first house in time for the closing on the second, so we had to get a bridge loan. Let me tell you, it is highly stressful taking care of 2 houses and planning 4 bday parties and 4 halloween costumes in there too. oct was almost the end of me. But, most thankfully the first house has sold and we close next wednesday the 25th. hurrah!! We moved into the second house (at least the most important stuff) last weekend and I'm surrounded by piles of boxes. I haven't been able to keep up with the laundry so this past monday, my birthday, i took all the dirty clothes to the laundrymat and did the equivalent of 10 loads. It took forever to fold but at least it was done! In the midst of all this I joined a design team from a great sketch blog, called creatively yours. It's a wonderfully creative team, with a couple good friends on team and my good friend Ali leading us. I'm very much looking forward to joining in!

That's all for now, as things calm down I'll definitely be around more often. I'll leave you with a photo of my kids on halloween.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

all in a days work

this post is from another blog that we are turning into our adoption blog, it was originally posted sept 25, 2008. i'm deleting in from over there and didn't want to loose it alltogether.

today I:
took care of one sickie
got 2 littles ready for the day
clipped 20 fingernails
unloaded the dishwasher
loaded the dishwasher
cut and added a cardboard divider into the dog food bin - 2 kinds of food
vacuumed the first floor
put 1 little down for a nap
steamed cleaned the basement carpet
caught a cricket to feed to ds's praying mantis
baked a batch of cookies
ran to the store for a couple things with 3 kids in tow
picked up ds from school
took dd to ballet
cooked a frozen pizza for dinner
took the puppy outside for countless potty breaks
cleaned up several potty "accidents" from puppy anyway
walked/ran a mile on the treadmill
hosted small group at our house

and very few of these things were on my actual list. the list that keeps growing. there are always calls to make and cleaning to get done. but, ds might actually remember that his momma took a couple minutes to go outside and catch him a cricket. i doubt he'll care if i ever get around to making an appointment to get my hair cut and colored. a girl's gotta have priorities.

About Me

a SAHM living the good life in northern Illinois